LETTER — No reason to approve solar projects quickly

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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To The Editor:

Thank you to Mr. Hodsoll, CEO of SolUnesco, who wrote in The Charlotte Gazette (November 11), about his solar company informing the public about the proposed Randolph Solar project. Allowing time for citizens and supervisors to understand the plans and consider implications for safety and the environment is a very important step.

Unfortunately, a different company (proposing the Courthouse Solar project) has had little outreach to the community, developing plans secretly during the pandemic, and then pushing for quick approval. Maneuvering took place to allow placement of an industrial solar facility within half a mile of the Charlotte Court House town limits, specifically to enable the Courthouse Solar project to proceed, yet the many affected landowners adjoining the proposed huge industrial solar project were not notified or given a chance to object before this zoning change.

If the proposed Courthouse Solar plans had been public from the very beginning, rather than secretive, affected landowners and other citizens could have pointed out problems immediately.  Aside from likely damage to habitat and watershed, there is serious and foreseeable danger of death and injury if construction traffic uses Highway 40.

Highway 40 between Eureka School Road and Charlotte Court House is already very accident-prone, with speeding trucks and cars, hills, curves, and ditches. Also, for quite a distance on both sides of Roanoke Creek, vehicles frequently collide with deer, and sometimes with bears, bobcats, and other animals. The plan to use the Shady Oaks road as an entrance for the proposed Courthouse Solar project involves a sharp turn off of an especially dangerous point (near both a hill and a curve) on Highway 40 on to a narrow road through a lovely, quiet, well-maintained community, with many children.

No proposed solar project should be approved automatically. There evidently are tentative plans for many Charlotte County industrial solar projects already, so there are many other opportunities for revenue for the county and no reason this potentially dangerous and harmful Courthouse Solar project should be rapidly approved, especially during this pandemic — further study of highway safety and many other factors is necessary.   

Janet F. Early,

Charlotte Court House